World Cup Fans in Mexico Triggered an Artificial Earthquake Just by Jumping

When Mexico beat Germany 1–0 at the FIFA World Cup on Sunday, the upset was so stunning Earth literally shook at the shock result.

It wasn’t natural seismic activity making the ground shake, though, but an artificial quake created entirely by celebrating Mexican fans, whose jumping elation at their team’s unexpected triumph was thunderous enough to register on seismic detectors in Mexico City.


Mexican seismic and volcanism tracking agency SIMMSA picked up the tremors from at least two sensors, and suggested the shaking coincided with possible “massive jumps” in Mexico City when Mexico’s Hirving Lozano gave his team a 1–0 lead with the only goal of the match.

Chilean researchers with Sismologia Chile announced that they too picked up the phenomenon, which they confirmed occurred at the point when Lozano’s strike beat German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

In a Facebook post, the Chilean seismologists described the “unnatural vibration” as being produced by “coordinated jumps of the fans”.

These kinds of unnatural vibrations have been observed before at things like sporting events and massive outdoor music events, and according to Sismologia Chile, can be indeed considered as earthquake-like tremors, because vibration occurs in the ground and is detected by monitoring equipment.

However, they’re clearly different from the kinds of earthquakes we usually talk about – those of natural origin – because they’re not caused by tectonic or volcanic activity, and don’t have a clear epicentre, since the agitation occurs at several points.


As a blog post by SIMMSA researchers explains, even while the ground shakes in these sorts of events, it still only creates a very minor earthquake compared to actual seismic activity, and generally can only be detected by sensitive equipment, or instruments located near the mass jumping.

If you want to see what caused all the fuss this time, here it is:

Awesome. And here’s what it looked like in Mexico City:

Even more awesome.


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